From the under-9s all the way through to the masters' 45+, players from all over Aotearoa are competing in the New Zealand Māori Basketball Championships this week. Yesterday, Te Arawa's youngest showed how it's done.
• Basketball: New Zealand Breakers thrash Melbourne United to keep NBL playoff hopes alive
• Basketball: Shocking video of former NBA star Delonte West has fans and players rallying for help
• Basketball: New Zealand Breakers stun Brisbane Bullets by snatching victory with last-second shot
• Basketball: New Zealand Breakers continue winning run with win over Adelaide 36ers
Whanaungatanga - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging.
Ask anyone involved in this week's New Zealand Māori Basketball Championships what makes the event special and most will tell you it is the whanaungatanga.
Players from all over New Zealand have come together in Rotorua to represent their iwi this week Te Arawa's under-9 kōtiro have set the standard.
Having cruised through the tournament, which started on Tuesday, and winning every game by at least 40 points, it was in yesterday's final that they finally met a worthy challenger.
Ngāti Toa had also been dominant leading into the final and the two sides produced an encounter which had even the neutral bystanders on the edge of their seat.
Te Arawa held a narrow 10-6 lead at halftime and showed great composure and desire to hold on, eventually taking an 18-14 win and claiming the title.
Te Arawa coach Heeni Brown said the final was "really intense".
"That was the hardest game of the tournament, coming into the final we hadn't played this team but yesterday we had watched them and knew they would probably be our hardest competition.
From dropping basketball to Olympic hopeful
Basketball: Rotorua's march to the final
Basketball academy enjoys stellar season
"I'm glad we stuck to the game play and structure we had learned over the last couple of weeks because I think if we hadn't we would not have won that game."
She said the group of Te Arawa girls came together like a whānau which helped them gel on the court.
"Knowing your identity and stuff like that really, really helps. It's like a whānau and that's a good thing to have, they all came together. I'm really thankful to the parents who brought the kids because we didn't have the best preparation leading up to this.
"These girls, individually, are probably going to be some of the best players in the next five or six years anyway because of the skill base they have. If they stick to that the future of Te Arawa women's basketball is going to be awesome."
Brown said it was tournaments like the Māori Basketball Championships which helped the girls develop a love for the game.
"It's probably one of the biggest basketball tournaments and you get to play against the best from all over the country in one spot. These girls get to meet so many other players and go up against different competition.
"Most of these girls have sisters who have grown up playing basketball so it's a bit of a legacy that has passed down. We'll have a warm down and then most of them will go back in to watch their sisters. You can hear them in the games sometimes mimicking what their sisters would do.
"The main thing for me, as a coach, was that the girls went out and had fun on the day and they were as prepared as they could be. It only takes one not so good experience in a team or competition to turn people away and the awesome thing about the Māori tournament especially is it's not like any other Basketball New Zealand competition.
"It's quite unique. It's based around whanaungatanga and owning your own skills."
The championships began on Tuesday and included a cultural celebration evening on Thursday.
The under-9, under-11, under-13 and under-15 finals were played yesterday. Playoffs and finals for under-17, under-19, open mixed, open Tāne, open wahine and pakeke-masters 45+ are being played today.The full draw and results can be found at maoribasketball.co.nz